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Election notes | ‘Kshama Sawant broke into my apartment building,’ Orion brushes off Pride street fest ethics complaint, plus what else is on the ballot

(Image: @VoteSawant)

With Election 2019 coming to a Primary peak as ballots hit mailboxes across District 3, things have gotten a bit chippy with complaints and ethics violation threats flying.

  • Aggressive doorbelling complaints: The strategy of “aggressive doorbelling” that very well could propel incumbent Kshama Sawant through the Primary and help her keep her D3 seat on the Seattle City Council is also, apparently, one of the most controversial elements of this summer’s election — at least, if you measure controversy by the CHS inbox that is. CHS has received multiple reports and complaints about Sawant campaign workers inside apartment and condo buildings across the Hill and District 3. “Kshama Sawant broke into my apartment building,” is the subject line on the latest. “When I opened my door, there was a tall, blonde man in a red vest who asked me if I wanted to learn about Kshama Sawant. I said no and asked him how he got into the building. ‘Oh, we have other supporters in the building.’ Shutting the door, I told him that I had voted for Sawant and was not interested in speaking,” the complainant writes. For the Sawant campaign, bringing its messages to renters with good, old-fashioned human contact is key. “Our campaign’s experience has been that rent control is a bold policy measure that’s overwhelmingly popular among working people in District 3, and is especially relevant to apartment dwellers,” a campaign spokesperson tells CHS. “Renters are more likely to be low-income, younger people, and people of color, and often less represented in elections. With the million-dollar corporate PACs ready to flood the election with misinformation, it’s vital our volunteers reach out to every registered voter.” The rep also points out that Sawant also fought for legislation requiring landlords to provide voter registration forms to new tenants.
  • Ethics complaint quashed: Another D3 challenger has sloughed off a round of criticism. Capitol Hill Pride, the tiny group of original organizers of the Broadway Pride weekend street festival who lost their permit for the event in the face of criticism from city officials and the neighborhood’s business community, took a swipe at Egan Orion this week with an ethics violation complaint against the D3 challenger. Orion, whose PrideFest took over the street festival making him the seeming arch nemesis of Capitol Hill pride organizer Charlette Lefevre, was accused of making “false misleading statements” over “saving” the festival. The complaint also nicked Orion for information in his campaign marketing materials. “Additionally, Egan is also falsely claiming and implying on his website and in media his position as Executive Director of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce is active when in fact the chamber closed during his directorship due to lack of funds / bankruptcy in May of this year,” the complaint read. The Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission took only days to respond. “We have reviewed your complaint and have determined that it does not merit any further investigation,” they write. “Even taking your complaint on its face and the facts you allege as being accurate there are no reasonable grounds to believe that the conduct would constitute a violation of the Ethics Code.” “I have no response to this claim except to say the city asked us to step in to maintain the event after the previous organizer violated the terms of her permit,” Orion said of the dismissal. “We are proud of the work we’ve done on PrideFest Capitol Hill and thank Charlette for her many years of service to the community.”
  • Also on the ballot: CHS has mostly been D3 obsessed, but don’t forget that there are a few other important issues on the August ballot:
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40 thoughts on “Election notes | ‘Kshama Sawant broke into my apartment building,’ Orion brushes off Pride street fest ethics complaint, plus what else is on the ballot

  1. I’ll second the complaint about Kshama Sawant’s supporters violating the spirit, if not the letter, of the laws regarding trespassing. Condos especially are private property. One may not wander the property knocking on doors if granted access by a particular individual. Because of this council member Sawant will not receive my vote for re-election. (For the record I have lived in my condo for 20 years. Only one other campaign knocked on my door. That person was the candidate herself who was a resident of my building!)

    • Wow! As a residential property owner with a reactionary mindset, I’m sure deciding not to vote for Sawant was really tough for you. I’m sure she’ll miss that vote she totally may have otherwise earned

  2. I live in a secure building on the hill and have been pestered by Sawant supporters too. I asked how he entered the building and he said “someone else let me in.” I then suggested that he leave, as it is a secured building and he just sort of stared at me blankly. About 30min later I saw him just sitting in our 1st floor entryway and I asked him to leave a second time and again, all I got was a blank stare and nod. I considered calling the police but it wasn’t a “serious” issue – though I will absolutely not be voting for her, at least partially because of this.

    • Agreed, I’m starting to feel like I’m being almost harassed by Sawant supporters. They’ve knocked on our door at least 4 times. I suspect more, but 4 flyers have been left. On the street I’ve been approached by her supporters in numerous occasions. I’ve received more flyers from her in the mail. The one which said how green she was made me laugh due to all the paper she’s wasting. I have had no contact or flyers from any other candidate. And I can tell you this alone would make me vote for anyone but her.

  3. I have also found Sawant fliers stuck to all the apartment doors in my secured building. This does not make people vote you. This is trespassing, littering, and highly annoying. I will absolutely not be voting for her.

  4. An individual wearing an unmarked, red vest followed me into my secure building last weekend. They were standing at the call box pretending to talk to someone on their cell phone and grabbed the door as it closed behind me. I would have stopped them or said something, but was more concerned with the bags of groceries in my hands. About 30 minutes later, they knocked on my door waving a Sawant flyer around asking if I wanted to sign up in support of rent control. I asked them to leave as they were uninvited into the building and trespassing. They didn’t leave and left flyers littered in the building.

  5. If only her supporters and she worked as hard at governing as they do at campaigning and fundraising… we might even get representation in the district.

  6. I live in Madison Valley and for the last few months, all campaigns except Sawant have been represented with yard signs along our major arterials and posters on our utilities. Murakami has had more representation than the rest, with Egan Orion taking the cake on posters, but I’ve also seen some for other candidates.

    In the last few days, a lot of those signs have disappeared and all of a sudden there are hundreds upon hundreds of Sawant materials. You can’t go 100 feet without seeing a red Sawant yard sign posted, and her red posters are plastered all over every available surface. We’re drowning in a sea of red here and it’s very apparent that this is the work of only a handful of people, who most likely do not live in Madison Valley and just swung through in the early hours with a truck full of taxpayer-funded campaign materials to litter around everywhere. Furthermore, I’m not sure on the legality of the action, but I certainly don’t approve of their removing signs and plastering over posters for other candidates.

    • Hmm crazy thought but what if that “sea of red” that you’re drowning in was related to the fact that she actually has a lot of volunteers and supporters in the district??

      I’m guessing that the 1,000ish donors to Sawant from the district have to live somewhere?

      • She doesn’t have a lot of volunteers or supporters in the district, though. 1000 is a tiny number of in-district donors compared to the other candidates.

        What she does have is a small cadre of maybe 2-3 dozen extremely aggressive and obnoxious people with apparently unlimited free time who are either religiously devoted to her or simply paid by Socialist Alternative to act that way. Tough to say which.

        Either way, they are utterly tactless and irritating with their tactics. Sneaking into buildings to litter the entire district with campaign materials doesn’t engender anything other than animosity towards your candidate. But given the way her supporters act online and at community gatherings and city council meetings, they don’t understand any guidelines of social interaction other than “whoever shouts the loudest and says the meanest things wins.”

        Can’t wait for them to be gone.

  7. If only some of you worried as much for the homeless as you do about young pesky political activists, we might actually have a liveable city.

    • I agree that the city needs to do something about homelessness, that is why it is imperative to get sawant out of the city council and bring in someone who knows how to work together with other organizations to get the work done.
      I enjoy my morning walks tearing down the sawant posters, and I am not the only one. I had an armful to put in a recycle bin in the neighborhood and upon opening it found there were already a bunch in there.
      Sounds like I need to move my walks to madison valley.

    • How do you know we don’t? Just because I value the security and privacy of my home doesn’t mean I don’t care about the plight of the homeless. Plus, this is the comment section of a blog; it’s not like we’re picketing outside Sawant’s home.

      Now, if maybe Sawant’s supporters were as aggressive at passing out meals and blankets and sheltering the homeless in their homes, as they are at breaking into secure buildings, we might actually have a livable city.

  8. The solution to this is to be more aggressive with calling the police. I too have received flyers on my door in our secure building and, had I been around at the time, would have been sure to have escorted the person off the property. If they refused I would have called the police.

    I get groceries and the hassle of calling but Sawant supporters aren’t going to obey the law if there are no consequences for their actions. They have to be taught that the rules apply to them and we aren’t in a socialist paradise just yet where every comrade’s property belongs to the collective.

    • That’s not a socialist paradise. It’s a communist paradise. Which make no mistake, I believe Sawant IS communist leaning. She just knows communism will never sell, so she soft-sells it as socialism.

      • The “American Socialist” thing Sawant peddles is just marketing, specifically intended to mask her true political ambitions. Sawant’s “movement” is communist, calling for the expropriation of the 500 largest companies in every country, world-wide. Sawant is a completely doctrinaire Leninist/Trotskyite. She also believes she can use this risible “movement” to propel her to what she wants–raw power, just like her heroes. Kshama believes she’s the World-Historical heir of the mantle of Leon Trotsky.

        It’s an infantile disorder–Kshama and her servile husband Calvin (looking well fed as usual in the picture) even named their dogs after Rosa Luxemburg and Che Guevara.

      • Socialism is explicitly defined as the workers owning the means of production, so if that is her goal it seems pretty accurate for her to call herself a socialist. Maybe you should read a book about it?

      • Ugh, Jim, it’s not the 1950s anymore. I think it’s safe to say the “red menace” isn’t a serious threat.

        If you really want to chip away at her credibility, look deeper into the Microsoft connection.

      • Um, Get Real, I didn’t say I’m worried about it. I was just responding to someone else characterizing her desire to expropriate companies “for the people” as Socialism, when it’s not.

      • Please spend even just 5 minutes reading the wikipedia pages for socialism and communism or something. You seem to either be deeply confused, or more likely, just making things up. Socialism is a political system that can be practically realized to varying degrees. Communism is a theoretical state of global society. Communism isn’t really relevant to anyone who is mostly concerned with affecting change in in the present on the timeline of individual human lives.
        It doesn’t make sense to “hide” communism with socialism, since they’re not entirely different classes of ideas.

  9. I still own a home in her district, but now live on the sterile Eastside as my primary residence. Since I can’t vote in Seattle elections, PLEASE Seattle voters, vote with some common sense. I hope to move back soon, but I was tired of used needles, excrement, tents and the crime that goes with it!

    • Maybe instead of sucking value out of the city with literal rent-seeking behavior as you enjoy owning two homes while half the city has none and won’t ever be able to afford one, you should actually contribute something productive to the community you pretend to care about

  10. Our building on 12th is quite secure and yet still this REPRESENTATIVE OF SAWANT managed to ‘piggyback’ on behind someone and get in. It was littered with nonsense from her campaign and he worked hard (unsuccessfully) not to be caught on our video surveillance system.
    No one using these kind of tactics should ever get a vote imho.
    Our landlord, fortunately cleaned up the litter he left behind.
    video and stills available upon request, just post to this post.

    • I’d be interested in that footage. Anybody else have pics or vids? There’s gotta be a lot out there. My building doesn’t have cameras.

      • Here are the pics and videos, we compiled the raw too long vids into one. The compilation does not include him actually putting junk on the door, but that is there in the raw folder.

        Also note: NO ONE in the building gave him the code, he waited til someone came out and grabbed the door before it closed (I call this piggybacking), twice!!As1Cn-x5LXZvgf1cqgny_a4oVQpDSg

  11. I applaud the security guard at Trader Joe’s on Madison. He told a Sawant person- practically grabbing people and throwing a flyer in their face; to leave. She screamed something and went off in a huff down the way to Madison Valley. If my dogs try to protect me by snarling at one of the Sawant people; what happens? I get arrested and my two Jack Russells probably get put down.

  12. I’m getting tired of unwanted Sawant signs being put up in my yard. Someone from the Murakami campaign asked if I’d allow them to put a sign in my yard. I said “go ahead, but just one.” That sign vanished about a week later and was replaced by a Sawant sign. I put it in the trash and a few days later another Sawant sign showed up. Then another…and so on. I’ve voted for her in the past, but may vote for someone else if I get one more of these (non-recycleable) signs on my front lawn. I wish I could post a photo of the 3 Sawant signs in my garbage can.

  13. As expected, the comments are teeming with those who cannot imagine a worse indignity than having their doorbell rung by someone who could challenge their worldview.

    To the old fogeys who find a few doorknocks insufferable, this is just how grassroots organizing works in America. You get a bunch of volunteers who will knock on their neighbors’ doors to, you know, actually engage in dialogue. Maybe instead of conjuring red scare panic and calling the cops on the commies, you could actually talk to a few volunteers and find out that they care deeply about Seattle and the people who live here.

    If the challengers had volunteers who felt passionately about their candidate, I would happily take a few minutes to hear them out, rather, than as at least a few here have suggested, call the darn cops. Good gracious.

    • The issue is NOT that people are opposed to canvassers knocking on their door. The issue IS that people who live in secured buildings do not want this illegal activity (trespassing) to be allowed. And they are completely justified in their opinion.

      • It’s not trespassing. Volunteers spent weeks gathering apartment contacts who agreed to let canvassers into their building, and those who feel violated should talk to their neighbors who have succumbed to the Red Menace and let the canvassers in.

      • That’s nonsense. No resident of a secured apartment building is authorized to let someone in to violate the security of their building and roam door to door. The only thing they’re authorized to do is admit them to THEIR OWN apartment. The other residents should complain all right— but not just to their neighbor. They should complain to the management of an apartment building, or to a condo association board. If it’s a rental building, it would serve them right to not have their lease renewed.

      • Thkx Bob, point well made.

        This line that they have contacts/jsupporters in the building is used because there’s no argument to be made against it you can’t prove it wrong. Its a LIE.

  14. People should be filing complaints with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission about the illegal/unethical things they witness Sawant campaign workers doing.